There is simply no substitute for eye-catching visuals if you want to grow your business on the Internet. That is why you need a visual content strategy. I’m here to help you find the pictures to power that strategy
But what is a visual content strategy and how do you start? For answers, check out this post by Allison. She lays out a convincing argument for the importance of pictures on your website and social profiles. Good visuals lead to increased search performance and greater results for your social media efforts. And it’s as easy as snapping photos with your phone’s camera.
Think about taking photos of your employees having fun, smiling with satisfied clients, or featuring pictures of your facility and recent projects. Cats and pictures of adorable babies seem to be popular on the Internet as well.
However, as you amp up your strategy, there’s a chance you’ll run out of cats and cute children to take pictures of. Or, you may find that taking original photographs, even quick cell phone snaps, isn’t quite right for you.
You have two safe choices. Purchase stock photography or find free, royalty-free images to use.
It’s important to note that using a search engine to find images is dangerous. Even though it’s extraordinarily easy with tools like Google Image Search, we strongly advise against using images found this way with your business. Something as simple as searching for “pictures of picnic baskets” on Google and using one of those images on your business website or social media profile is often illegal. It can get you embroiled in deep legal complications. Same thing with many images found on photography sharing site Flickr.
Follow this rule of thumb: Unless you purchase a photo or have express permission to use it, it’s out of bounds.
Comrade, you might say, how then shall I amp up my visual content strategy? Just wait. It’s easy and often inexpensive to purchase stock photography. We love iStockphoto.com for its wide selection and reasonable prices. You can get a great photo for five or ten dollars that you can use and reuse as often as you want in the future. Shutterstock.com is another popular stock photography store.
Alternatively, you can find free royalty-free images to use. As a big fan of free things, I’ll cover the wide world of free stock photography resources in part two (look for it in a week or so). If you just can’t wait, I recommend visiting sxc.hu. This website lets you search a database of images submitted by shutterbugs all over the world. Many images are free to use and modify with just a brief credit to the source or a note dropped in their comment section about how you used the image.
Next time I’ll show you a more extensive list of my favorite free royalty-free stock photo websites and explain how to use these resources with care. If you’ve got any questions or helpful tips, let us know in the comments.Camera lens image from ilco on sxc.hu Need Help? Roundpeg, an Indianapolis Web Design firm, can help.